Gilbert "Gilby" Clarke (born August 17, 1962, in Cleveland, Ohio) is an American guitarist and record producer best known for a 3-year tenure as the rhythm guitarist of Guns N' Roses, replacing Izzy Stradlin in 1991 during the Use Your Illusion Tour. Following his departure from the group, Clarke went on to forge a solo career as well playing guitar with Slash's Snakepit, Kat Men, Heart, Nancy Sinatra, Kathy Valentine (of the Go-Go's), MC5 and forming his own group Rock Star Supernova with members of Metallica and Mötley Crüe.
Clarke's production work includes albums by L.A. Guns, Bullets and Octane, The Bronx and Vains of Jenna.
1985–1991: Early music career
Gilby Clarke started his musical career during the first half of the Eighties, replacing Candy's original guitarist, Geoff Siegel, who later played with the Nymphs. Gilby eventually replaced the band's lead vocalist and penned several unreleased fan favorites including, "Dance America". The band's MTV played video of "Whatever Happened to Fun?" was a lovely bridge between the Beatles "A Hard Day's Night" and Michael Jackson's "Billy Jean". The album produced numerous L.A. anthems such as "American Kix" and "The Kids in The City". He left them to form Kill For Thrills, a metal band which released the EP Commercial Suicide and the LP Dynamite from Nightmareland and before eventually disbanding. Kill For Thrills was a supergroup of sorts with Jason Nesmith (son of former Monkees Mike Nesmith) on Guitar, and Todd Muscat formerly of seminal L.A. Punk band Decry, on Bass and then later with Junkyard after Kill For Thrills. Muscat is also the brother of Brent Muscat (Faster Pussycat, L.A. Guns, Sin City Sinners). All members have deep roots in the Los Angeles rock scene.
1991–1994: Guns N' Roses
Following rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin's decision to abruptly quit the band, citing a combination of Axl Rose's personal behavior (he would consistently delay the start of shows by hours at a time) and his mismanagement of the band and difficulties being around Slash, Sorum, and McKagan due to his new-found sobriety and their continuing alcohol and substance addictions, Clarke was chosen as his replacement. During many shows throughout the tour, Rose introduced Clarke and had him play "Wild Horses", a Rolling Stones cover with Slash.
He toured extensively with the band on the Use Your Illusion Tour between November 1991 and 1993. On November 23, 1993, Guns N' Roses released a collection of punk and glam rock covers entitled "The Spaghetti Incident?" where many of the tracks were recorded with original Guns N' Roses guitarist Izzy Stradlin during the Use Your Illusion I and II sessions and then were later re-recorded by Clarke. Clarke's only other appearances on a Guns N' Roses release would be on the live and compilation albums Live Era '87–'93 and Greatest Hits.
Clarke is featured on Guns N' Roses video releases Use Your Illusion I, Use Your Illusion II and Welcome to the Videos.
1994–2006: Slash's Snakepit and solo career
Following the end of the Use Your Illusion Tour in 1993, Guns N' Roses guitarist Slash began recording demos of material that he had written during the tour, at his home studio with band mate Matt Sorum. Clarke and Alice in Chains bassist Mike Inez soon started to come around to jam with them. They eventually recorded twelve demo songs. Eric Dover, live guitarist for Jellyfish, successfully auditioned to become the group's singer. Slash and Dover wrote the lyrics for all the tracks, except "Monkey Chow" which was contributed by Clarke and "Jizz da Pit" which is an instrumental written by both Slash and Inez. The album was released by Geffen Records in February 1995 charting at No. 70 on the Billboard 200. For the tour in support of the album, James LoMenzo and Brian Tichy, both members of Zakk Wylde's solo band, joined the band to replace Inez and Sorum who could not tour with the group due to other commitments. With Guns N' Roses regrouping to record a new album, Snakepit disbanded with Clarke resuming his solo career, releasing his second album The Hangover in 1997.
In 1994, he released his debut solo album Pawnshop Guitars which featured contributions from several of his friends including all the then members of Guns N' Roses. It went gold in Argentina.
Since then he has released another three solo albums, The Hangover, Rubber and 2002's Swag as well as the live album 99 Live.
He formed the band Col. Parker with ex-Stray Cat Slim Jim Phantom and former touring additional GN'R keyboardist Teddy "Zig Zag" Andreadis, releasing the album Rock N Roll Music in 2001.
In addition, he made a guest appearance on the L.A. Guns album Shrinking Violet, which he also produced. Clarke also produced The Bronx's self-titled album released in 2003 and Girlsplayboys debut album From Ritual to Romance in 2006, and L.A. Guns' 2001 album Man in the Moon.
In 2002 Clarke worked with Nancy Sinatra on her album California Girl and a year later joined Heart on their national tour.
2006–2012: Rockstar Supernova and reunion with GNR on Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
In 2006, Mötley Crüe drummer, Tommy Lee, formed Supernova with Clarke on guitars and former Metallica bassist Jason Newsted. The band used the TV show Rockstar to find a new lead singer. Lukas Rossi was chosen as their lead singer. Clarke embarked on a solo tour across America and Europe.
The name Supernova however was already taken; another band from California was touring with the name before the Clarke incarnation. On June 26, 2006, the latter band filed a federal lawsuit.
On Tuesday, September 12, 2006, U.S. District Judge John A. Houston in San Diego ruled in favor of the original Supernova, granting their request for a preliminary injunction. The injunction keeps the producers of "Rock Star: Supernova" — which concluded September 13 as a television show, but will continue as a recording, touring, and merchandise entity for some time to follow — from "performing rock and roll music, or recording, or selling rock and roll music recordings under the same name, pending a trial of this action on its merits, or until otherwise ordered by the court." As such, the band has renamed itself as Rock Star Supernova, for the moment at least.
He produced a cover of Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire" on Rockstar: Supernova runner-up Dilana Robichaux's 2007 album, also released as a single on digital download websites.
In 2007 he released a best of album featuring tracks from all of his solo albums as well as two songs from the Col. Parker project and a rerecording of the song "Black", featuring vocals by Rock Star: Supernova runner-up Dilana.
In July 2008 Gilby Clarke played at the G-TARanaki Guitar Festival in New Zealand. His solo band included bassist Muddy Stardust and drummer Dennis Morehouse. He then toured North America as part of the Rock n' Roll Fantasy Camp.
Clarke reunited with Guns N' Roses members Slash, Steven Adler, Matt Sorum and Duff McKagan, during the live performance, at the band's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction in April 14, 2012. Clarke himself was not inducted as part of the band.
Guitars: Gibson Les Paul, Gibson Melody Maker, Fender Telecaster, Zemaitis
Amps: Vox AC-30's reissues, Marshall